While because of various concerns many parents are against the very idea of their young child having a mobile device of his or her own, nowadays a mobile device is a necessity even for first-graders. A mobile device is not only a toy but it could also be a great way to track your kids whereabouts. What is more, a mobile device could even save your kid in case of an emergency.
This is why the question is not if your kid must have a mobile but rather how to choose the best mobile device for him or her. Of course, your choice largely depends on the age of the kid and here are some tips how to proceed if your kid is very young.
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Keep Your Budget Low
I guess no parent in their right mind will buy the latest iPhone, or Blackberry for their pre-school kid, even if money is not an issue. If you are picking a phone for a 6 or 7 year old, choose something cheap – not because you don’t love your child but because of more pragmatic reasons.
For instance, it is common for young kids to drop their phone or to lose it. Also, theft is a concern with more expensive devices. Because of this, choose something shiny but cheap for your kid and this is all. Anyway, when the kid grows up, i.e. becomes a teenager or even before that, he or she will want something more fashionable and expensive, so keep your money for then.
Low End Mobile Devices Are Fine for Kids
With today’s mobile devices that can compete with PCs in terms of functionality, we frequently forget that a mobile’s main function is to make and receive calls, which is a functionality every device has. Texting would be nice to have but for a first-grader, who can’t read or write yet, this is useless. In terms of functionality, a low end device – even one without Internet access – is more than fine.
Some of the features you might really need are parental control and the ability to restrict your kid’s calls and use, so make sure the model you pick has these.
Pick a Light, Highly Resistant Device in Bright Colors
Unlike technical features, with kids appearance is more important when choosing a mobile device. Kids love bright colors, so pick a mobile in one of them. Also, if the phone offers skins of popular kid movies, think about it. As for colors, pink for girls, blue for boys is a cliché but if you really have no better idea, it is a safe choice to stick with.
In addition to colors, the weight of the device is also very important. Unless you are raising a weight-lifter, you need to pick a device that isn’t heavy to carry around. Additionally, you might want to pick a highly-resistant phone, because this increases its chance to survive the frequent drops it will be most certainly subject to.
Choose the Most Suitable Plan
In addition to the device itself, you also need to pick a mobile plan for the young user. Basically, it is best to choose a SIM-only plan because with a monthly contract you will be paying more. Also, with monthly contracts the device itself is included in the contract and since it is highly unlikely your mobile service provider to offer many kid phones with a monthly contract, this seriously limits your choices. In some cases PAYG (Pay As You Go) could also be an option but all equal, with PAYG (unless you use the phone mainly to contact the kid and he or she is not allowed outbound calls) you might end up paying more than with a SIM-only plan.
These are the tips to bear in mind when picking a mobile device for your young kid. We deliberately don’t recommend a brand and a model in particular because there are so many of them and the choice is tough. The best you can do for the exact brand is to ask other parents of kids your age, or the parents of your kid’s friends which models are fashionable among them and to get one. Very often your kid will want a particular model only and nothing else because his or her friends have it, so do some research what mobiles your kid’s friends have, check if these mobiles meet your criteria, and if they do, your mission is completed.
This was a guest post by Ada who is a freelance writer, and enjoys writing about all things tech.